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With the waning weeks of the summer of 2023, children continue to make the most of every moment at Please Touch Museum (PTM) in Philadelphia. This is especially true for rising kindergarteners, who are getting ready to pack their backpacks, find their cubbies, and meet new friends. And the 80 children and their caregivers who participated in PTM’s Kindergarten Readiness Experience this summer are well-prepared for new adventures in learning. The program was recently featured in The Inquirer, highlighting the importance of social and emotional skills in preparation for kindergarten.
PTM’s Kindergarten Readiness Experience is advancing how children prepare to transition to kindergarten, ensuring they enter the classroom on their first day full of creativity, compassion, confidence, and curiosity. Entering kindergarten is a milestone for young children and families. PTM remains committed to supporting the journey from home to school by building the critical social-emotional skills needed for a successful transition.
The Kindergarten Readiness Experience was also highlighted in the American Alliance of Museums’ recent reaccreditation report, which specifically cited the program as worthy of study by other museums. Together, these remarkable endorsements help celebrate yet another way in which PTM changes a child’s life as they discover the power of learning through play.
With approximately 40 emerging museum ACM Members, we are thrilled to see more intentional and meaningful spaces for children’s museums coming together across the globe!
This week, ACM Executive Director Arthur Affleck represents the association at the Grand Opening of Young V&A in Bethnal Green, London. After seven intensive years of dedicated planning and design, the free, national museum will showcase the power of creativity in children’s lives as they build new skills and develop the creative confidence needed to thrive in our fast-changing world.
Co-designed with children, Young V&A demonstrates what it means to be a children’s museum by serving as a local destination that encourages positive child development and adult/child interactions through naturalistic and child-centered learning.
Emerging museums are an important part of the children’s museum community. Representing those institutions that are not-yet-opened, emerging museums bring new vision, new perspectives, ideas, and talents.
In recent years, many of our emerging museums represent the international growth of children’s museums. We are pleased to have welcomed attendees from across the globe at our recent InterActivity 2023: Leveraging Our Voice conference in New Orleans. This included attendees from Canada, Mexico, South Korea, Israel, Germany, Curaçao, China, and Poland, as well as the U.K.
Children’s museums are constantly responding to the current needs of the children and families in their communities, from health to academics to social issues, as seen in their exhibits, outreach, and programming. Children’s museums also fulfill their roles as responsive, audience-focused institutions by striving to reflect and address community needs through the experiences they create.
While ACM and the children’s museum community cannot eliminate all the threats to children’s health, safety and well-being, the organization is committed to using its playful learning approach, and its advocacy, programming, and community partnerships to address these problems proactively and with a sense of urgency.
Recently ACM’s Executive Director, Arthur G. Affleck III participated in a special roundtable discussion hosted by the National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C. Joined by Ginger Zee, Chief Meteorologist and Managing Editor Climate Unit at ABC News, and Kim Noble, Senior Advisor for Environmental Education at the US Environmental Protection Agency, Arthur explore the topic of Climate Action Heroes: Empowering Future Climate Innovators. The full roundtable discussion can be viewed here.
Moderated by Crystal Bowyer, President & CEO of National Children’s Museum, central themes from the panel focused on climate and humanity, easing climate anxiety, partnerships, and the power of play.
Children, as the most vulnerable group affected by climate change, also hold the greatest potential as agents of change and resilience. To nurture the next generation of climate innovators, it is crucial to instill a love for nature and science through play-based, interactive learning, emphasizing hope rather than fear. It is the shared duty of public and private sectors to forge partnerships that promote awareness and inspire action in this endeavor.
“This isn’t about science, it is not about statistics, it is not about how high the water level was… it’s about the humanity of the people … that’s what we can give children. Not just the education and the information but where and how do I take action with whatever I have in front of us?”Ginger Zee
“We can talk to children in a way that doesn’t come from a place of fear but a place of possibility. We can confront climate change and talk to our kids in a way that teaches them about creativity, innovation, resilience. We can teach them what it means to imagine a world with a planet with clean air, clean water, for everyone. That learning can come from a place of growth.”Kim Noble
“The reason why play is so important is that you want the lesson to stick, you want children to want to know more about it. If you make it fun, if you make it interesting, if you make it interactive, and iterative, and joyful: they are likely to get the lesson. We use play-based approaches to teach about climate and so many other concepts.”Arthur Affleck
Climate Action Heroes is part of the National Children’s Museum innovative educational programming. More information may be found at the NCM website.
The Association of Children’s Museums recently worked with The New York Times on an article highlighting the advancements and importance of children’s museums in the United States! The article dives into the history and evolution of children’s museums with ACM Executive Director Arthur G. Affleck, III and discusses the work of various children’s museums across the country, highlighting the story of Fort Lauderdale High School sophomore, Connor Carey, and the impact the Museum of Discovery and Science has had on his self-confidence and social skills. You can read the full article in The New York Times here: https://www.nytimes.com/2023/04/27/arts/design/childrens-museums.html?fbclid=IwAR0doOhSwOhOwxBebj6FCjxEXQG9Lw4rdTywF-zxOLxYi6vQLydA0bhlzAY